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Final rules for new regime for becoming a solicitor show progress but still lack crucial clarity

16 November 2017

More detail is still needed about the new super exam for solicitors if the profession’s confidence is to be won, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.

Responding to an announcement by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that it has approved the final draft regulations which will bring the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) into force, the Law Society repeated its warning that not enough was known about the rules underpinning the framework.

Law Society President Joe Egan said: "Our consultation response in July this year was critical of the level of detail provided in the SRA’s draft regulations. We are disappointed these final draft regulations add little to anyone’s knowledge of the new regime.

“It is essential the work undertaken by trainee solicitors is rigorous enough to prepare them for a career in law but, despite our recommendations, the SRA has said work experience should only provide the candidate with the opportunity to develop some or all of the skills required.”

The Law Society welcomes the fact the SRA has listened to our concerns in relation to signing-off work experience carried out by trainees.

The initial proposals merely said that the experience could be signed off by a compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) solicitor within the firm, or an external solicitor.

The new proposals now require a solicitor from outside the organisation to sign off the experience based on a thorough review and feedback, having full details of the period of work experience. We are glad to see that these recommendations have been incorporated.

In order for these final draft regulations to be properly considered by the professions’ over-arching regulator, the Legal Services Board, they must be accompanied by a comprehensive plan on how the SQE will be assessed. Until this detailed plan is made available, we believe it would be premature to adopt the new regulations.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Catherine Reed | +44 (0)20 7320 5902